Sometimes you can smell when it's not going to end well. It's almost like there's a taste in the air. It started with a routine email message in my inbox. But after reading the first few words, I knew this was going to be one of those. Here's how it started: "We bought the seamless donation plugin for our website..." Let's start with a quick bit of back story for those of you who haven't been following along. A few months ago, I adopted a WordPress plugin, Seamless Donations, as my new side project. Seamless Donations helps nonprofits accept donations, and it's got just about 68,000 organizations depending on it to help them do good things for the world. Featured stories Cryptocurrency reality checks and the coming boom USB Type-C is the iPhone charging connector that Steve Jobs would have wanted I tried to write this article on an iPad Pro. It didn’t go well Thousands of Mega logins dumped online, exposing user files Helping users of the plugin and keeping it up to … [Read more...] about WordPress malware: Don’t let too-good-to-be-true deals infest your site
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Facebook's iOS app is using object recognition technology to give blind people an audio breakdown of what's going on in photos posted on the social network. The new accessibility feature, rolling out today, could be a major improvement on existing screen readers, which largely focus on text. Until now, when blind users were checking their Facebook newsfeed and came across an image, they would only hear the word "photo" and the name of the person who shared it, which left the user still dependent on friends and family to interpret an image. To improve the experience for blind people, Facebook has used its vast trove of user images to train a deep neural network that drives a computer vision system built to recognise objects in images. Facebook then translates that into "alt text", a WC3 standard for providing text alternatives for images that can be interpreted by screen readers. This should mean that any screen reader can pick up Facebook's alt text output and read out images to the … [Read more...] about Facebook is using artificial intelligence to describe photos for blind users
"Nothing too unusual. Went on TV yesterday to help users understand the LastPass breach. Been working on PowerPoints for a briefing. Oh, and I accidentally crashed somewhere between 10,000 and 70,000 nonprofit Web sites."So yeah. That happened. This weekend, after working for three months on an open-source plugin I adopted back in March, I released a major update. Despite all my best efforts (and, in fact, because of some best practices), the release had a naming conflict and caused a whole lot of Web site crashes. Three months ago, I learned that a very well-respected GPL open-source WordPress plugin, Seamless Donations, was about to lose developer support. Its original developer had a full-time job that needed his full-time attention. As it happens, I was also looking around for a programming-related side project (after spending 18-months writing academic papers, I wanted to freshen my coding skills), and since I have already done a lot of work in WordPress and support nonprofit … [Read more...] about My open-source WordPress plug-in: Lessons learned from a release gone wrong
a number of articles in recent weeks and months about security issues found in the popular WordPress CMS and blogging platform. Even the FBI issued a warning about WordPress sites being vulnerable to hacking by ISIS. This has raised the question: is it safe to use WordPress? One reader asked me, if WordPress is safe, why there are so many reports about problems? In this article, I'll answer both of those questions. First, let's talk about what WordPress is. There are two main variants of WordPress. There's the hosted WordPress.com service run by a commercial entity called Automattic. Then there's the open-source WordPress software that is installed and operated by millions of people worldwide. Featured stories Cryptocurrency reality checks and the coming boom USB Type-C is the iPhone charging connector that Steve Jobs would have wanted I tried to write this article on an iPad Pro. It didn’t go well Thousands of Mega logins dumped online, exposing user files I wrote … [Read more...] about WordPress: is it safe to use for my websites?
It may be hard to remember, but there was a time before Tumblr, memes, GIFs, and mainstream blogging — back when a LiveJournal account was all it took to earn a seat at the cool-kids table. But that was 2003, when WordPress was the new kid on the block, and iTunes songs still cost only 99 cents. Ten years later, WordPress this week celebrates a decade of blogging with a look at the past and a peak into the future. Built as an offshoot of the b2/Cafelog platform by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, the free, open-source blogging tool launched on May 27, 2003. In the years that followed, WordPress rocketed from "popular" to "can't live without," garnering more than 18 million downloads of its latest version, 3.5. (The next iteration, 3.6, is coming soon, the company promised.) When it first hit the Web, WordPress served as an outlet for people to share their thoughts — an online-diary upgrade from the teen-centric LiveJournal. But it also provided simple software for digital … [Read more...] about WordPress Celebrates 10 Years of Blogging